Help needed

Sometimes the people you love need help to get them through emotionally tricky times, but this isn’t always as easy to provide as you might think. All caring friends are willing to listen to problems and offer advice, but occasionally things become too much for a non-professional to fix – so how do you continue to provide support when it becomes clear that you don’t really know how? Listening non-judgementally is the trickiest thing when you’re speaking to someone close, as you’re probably going to be slightly biased in some way, but is it still possible to help out? I like to think it is.

The solutions I’ve found online cover active listening, encouraging the seeking of professional help, and encouraging self-help strategies – including exercise, relaxation, meditation, support groups and spending more time with friends/family – but it all seems to be quite specifically aimed at certain issues. Where do you go for advice on how to deal with any and every emotional crisis? Will all suggestions work in all cases? Whatever the underlying reasons for needing support, it’s often easier to do in person and that’s not always a luxury we have these days. In these days of keeping in touch relatively publicly via Twitter and Facebook, a personal email, text message or even a phone call can mean a lot. However, I’m still wondering if there’s anything else I can do, other than simply saying “I’m here for you if/when you need me”.